Brian Orser had a revelation recently about his own Olympic bid for gold in 1988, courtesy of his star student, world champion Yu-Na Kim.
In the run-up to those Games and the storied Battle of the Brians, the Canadian sports icon recalls he did not up his technical ante after winning the world title in 1987. Not challenging himself technically was a mistake, suggests the Olympic silver medalist who finished second by the slimmest of margins to American Brian Boitano in Calgary.
Kim, a gold medal favorite for 2010, on the other hand, has no intention of resting on her laurels.
"I'm so proud of her that this season she's challenging herself rather than just coasting on being world champion," Orser told icenetwork.com. "We left a few points on the table last year and she still broke records [for highest-ever scores]. She's looking at 215 points and last year we were trying to break 200."
"I just wanted to stay the course [in 1987-88] and I needed to take it to a higher level. That's what I'm feeling now that I'm in it with Yu-Na and seeing what she's doing."
Kim, who turns 19 in September, has already decided to make her triple-triple combination this season a Lutz-toe loop in both programs. That combo garners a half point more than the flip-toe she did last season. As well, the Korean superstar, who has trained full-time in Toronto with Orser the last three seasons, has improved her spins and speed and is looking to surpass her scores on the artistic side of the ledger.
In choosing the music for Kim's Olympic season programs, Orser and choreographer David Wilson knew it would be difficult to top last season's selections, particularly "Danse Macabre," to which Kim's sensational short program was set. Consideration was actually given to holding that piece in reserve if it was later determined the new music could not match the impact of "Danse Macabre." Orser now believes that will not be necessary.